Round 23 Fantasy winners & losers
It was a mixed round for NRL Fantasy's big guns as thousands of head-to-head league finals series got underway. Here's the recap of which players starred and who misfired in Round 23.
With 63 tackles, 179 metres and six tackle breaks in 70 minutes, Bulldogs skipper James Graham was the NRL Fantasy player of the round with 90 points, just ahead of Broncos star Anthony Milford (try, two assists, three line breaks, 88 points) and Wests Tigers speedster David Nofoaluma (two tries, 13 tackle breaks, 85 points).
Elsewhere, Dragons mid-season recruit Tariq Sims scored twice to earn 77 points, Raiders duo Joey Leilua (81) and Elliott Whitehead (66) were standouts against the Storm, Tyrone Peachey wreaked havoc against the Knights for 75, Martin Taupau impressed in a losing effort for Manly with 74 and Roosters trio Shaun Kenny-Dowall (73), Boyd Cordner (72) and Mitch Pearce (70) led the way in a stunning upset of the Cowboys.
Popular buys Jason Taumalolo (68), Corey Oates (68), Jamie Buhrer (67), Jack de Belin (61), Will Hopoate (61), Josh Mansour (60) and Aiden Tolman (60) all broke the 60-point barrier, while Euan Aitken (58), Josh Dugan (58), Andrew Fifita (57), Jake Friend (56) and Ben Hunt (56) were other notable scorers.
Paul Gallen's very late withdrawal with a calf injury before Cronulla's clash with the Dragons caught out a lot of NRL Fantasy coaches, with a lot of teams relying on an auto emergency score to replace the Sharks skipper.
Those coaches still were better off than those who had Daly Copley in their side, with the Roosters centre leaving the field with concussion early on against North Queensland and finishing with -2 points. There were similarly low scores for injured Manly centre Dylan Walker (4), Warriors fullback Tui Lolohea (3), Eels fullback Michael Gordon (7), Knights forward Pauli Pauli (9), Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu (8) and Manly back-rower Nathan Green (11).
Fantasy coaches who have burned through all their trades already will be ruing it this week with James Tedesco set to miss the rest of the season with a broken jaw after copping a hit from fellow Fantasy gun Ryan James, who is facing a possible suspension at the judiciary this week.
Meanwhile several Fantasy stars picked a bad time to have underwhelming weeks, with Shaun Johnson (31), Johnathan Thurston (30), Jarrod Croker (27), Jesse Bromwich (37), Nathan Cleary (32) and Bryce Cartwright (26) all quieter than usual.